Moroccan-Style Stew

This is another variation on my most recent recipe. I made it while I was in Norway and for some reason decided to make it a little more interesting by adding spices. It was a resounding success! Even the omnivorous members of the family, in a decidely carnivorous country, enjoyed it which was encouraging.

I don’t really give a lot of thought to the “authenticity” of my cooking; in my view, if I made it instead of just heating it up, then it’s authentic. But I couldn’t in good conscience call it Moroccan Stew, because I haven’t the faintest idea whether it resembles anything ever eaten in that country. (I have to admit, I’m not even sure I could point to Morocco on a map – I get it mixed up with Monaco.) I simply drew inspiration from a list of spices which are apparently the ones usually used in Moroccan tagines, and added whatever I had from that list. Today that meant cumin, paprika, white pepper, mixed spice containing cinammon, coriander, dill, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, and a pinch of sugar because my tinned tomatoes are pretty acidic. I hope to improve my spice selection, but at the moment my Lidl herb and spice rack supplemented by two or three other basics seems to suffice!

This really is one of the easiest things to cook. You chop up an onion and fry it gently until soft (this time, I attempted to caramelise my onion but I don’t have enough patience for that sort of thing so it ended up soft and goldish), add a tin of tomatoes and either sugar or salt, or both, as needed, then mix in your spices. Once it’s all simmered for a while, chuck in some chickpeas – usually, about half a tin will do – and once you’re happy with the flavour and consistency of the tomato mix, add some couscous, cover the pan and leave it to simmer for a few minutes while the pasta soaks up the liquid. If it looks like there might not be enough liquid, add some water but be sparing or it’ll take forever to get back to the lovely thick consistency of a stew.

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